202 B- POLEVOI uWhere is he? What has become of him? He went away so suddenly. I went out of the room when the alert was sounded. I am in a first-aid unit, you know. When I came back he was gone, and he left no note or address___Alyosha dear ... excuse me for calling you that___I know you too-----I am very worried about him. I'd like to know where he is, and why he left so suddenly-----" Alexei felt a warm feeling surge through his heart. He was glad for his friend's sake. The funny chap had been mistaken, too sensitive. So genuine girls are not scared by a soldier's disablement. And that meant that he too could count on somebody being worried about him and seeking him in the same way. These thoughts flashed through his mind like lightning as he shouted into the receiver, almost spluttering in his excitement: "Anyuta! Everything's all right! It was a regrettable misunderstanding. He is quite well and on active service again. Of course! F.P.O. 42531-B. He is growing a beard! Honestly, Anyuta! A fine beard, like ... er ... like ... er, like the partisans wear! It becomes him!" Anyuta did not approve of the beard. She thought it was superfluous. Still more delighted to hear this, Meresyev answered that since that was the case, Grisha would have the beard off in a jiffy, although everybody thought that the beard greatly improved his looks. In the end, they both hung their receivers up as fast friends, arranging that Meresyev would telephone her before he left the hospital. On his way back to the ward Alexei remembered that he had run to the telephone. He tried to run again, but nothing came of it. The sharp impact of the artificial feet caused acute pain to shoot through his whole body. But never mind! If he couldn't run today he would tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then the day after, but hell, he would run! Everything would be all right. He certainly would be able to run and fly, and fight, and being fond of pledges, he pledged himself, after his first air battle, after he had brought down his first German, to write and tell Olya everything, come what may!